Take Your Dog to Work Day


Tribune Media Services

June 23 ought to be a national holiday, says Kathy Stobaugh, project coordinator at N.N. Jaeschke Inc., a property management company in San Diego.

That's because June 23 is Take Your Dog to Work Day, which Stobaugh enthusiastically supports.

"It's more than a fun day to bring the dogs into work," she says. "Last year, three employees felt so left out of the fun, I mean they were jealous of everyone with their dogs. So, they've each since gone ahead and adopted a dog. As a result, three more dogs aren't in a shelter and now have a home. If even half the businesses in America participated, we'd empty out the shelters."

Stobaugh may be a tad overly optimistic, but Take Your Dog To Work Day is gradually catching on, and adoptions do occur as a result.

Patti Moran, founder of Pet Sitters International, kicked off the first Take Your Dog to Work Day eight years ago.

"The idea has always been to encourage adoptions," she says. "I thought, if everyone can see the loving relationship, the bond we have with our dogs, it might motivate adoptions."

Indeed, countless dogs have been adopted as a result of the event. Moran remembers one, in particular. The Loews Hotel in Annapolis, Md., held a Take Your Dog to Work Day promotional event called Bark Breakfast, where a local shelter brought in a dog named Severn -- the name of the river in which he'd been found floating.

Moran says, "Businesses have all sorts of fun events; one had a wienie contest, another had a sort of Dog Olympics. It's great, but I'm most pleased when I hear that dogs find a second chance because of Take Your Dog to Work Day."

When the event began, about 500 businesses participated. This year, more than 10,000 firms are expected to join in, not to mention the entire city of Portland, Maine.

In Portland alone, more than 100 businesses of all sizes will allow dogs on what is now a city holiday, albeit unofficial. The Animal Refuge League of Maine will adopt out dogs at a downtown park.

Across the country, several businesses that once participated in Take Your Dog to Work Day no longer do because every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day. "They saw the value for the employees," says Moran. "And the sometimes predicted disturbances created by dogs just didn't happen."

Of course, seriously allergic employees may not be so thrilled. Stobaugh says that at her company, those employees simply take the day off.

The truth is, as long as a dog is only in the office eight hours to so, the dander (which causes the allergic response) doesn't have the chance to get into the air system, or to stick on the walls, desks, get into the carpet and ultimately create problems for people with allergies.

Moran adds another option for Take Your Dog to Work Day, which can also work for people who are afraid of dogs: a dog safe zone in the workplace.

All sorts of businesses participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day, from small, family run stores to firms such as BMW Financial in Hilliard, Ohio (suburban Columbus), with 750 workers, joining in this year for the first time. While employees won't bring their best friends with four legs to the office, they will offer dogs for adoption from a local shelter. They'll also raise money to benefit pets in shelters. A behaviorist and dog trainer are among animal professionals who will answer questions, and hopefully prevent more dogs from landing in shelters.

"It's a start, and perhaps next year we'll expand, after all, this is different," says Juli Long, a lease end specialist at BMW Financial (offering financing services to BMW customers). "But we believe that supporting adoption of pets is good for the community."

Hoover, a terrier mix, is the 2006 Take Your Dog to Work Day Poster Dog. Actually, his full name is Hoover Charleston Roo McGinnis. While his littermates were adopted from Our Lady of Mercy Catnip Cottage in Summerville, S.C., Hoover just couldn't find a home. Finally, he was adopted to a family in Miami. However, they abruptly changed their minds. Homeless again, it seemed Hoover's time was up when Mark and Monica McGinnis fell in love with the dog, who has a strange habit of hopping (thus the Roo in his name, as in kangaroo).

Last year, Hoover went to work with Monica on Take Your Dog to Work Day, meeting and greeting dogs and people at the BJC Medical Center Nursing Home in Maysville,Ga.

Hoover's spunk is inspirational to everyone he meets. Perhaps, at some level, he understands how close he came to not finding a home.

"We believe every pet should be a wanted pet," says Moran. "Take Your Dog to Work Day is our way of trying to matter."

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